Preppy Thomas (Sartorial wisdom 1)

My friend Thomas is a preppy kind of picky freak.
He'll know the perfect place for impecable clothing, shoes or accessories for men in Paris, Milan, London and the US (from J.Press to Malibu swimsuits). He used to wear custom-made three piece suits for which he was once nicknamed Phileas Fogg.  Then he married and I guess he felt he could hang the parade costume. He went lower-key without downgrading. He kept up with this thing he has for uniforms, the right stuff for the right time and place. He sent me the Heavy Tweed blog. Killer.


Tote bags

LL Bean classic boat tote, on Pink Sands beach, Bahamas.
Marimekko red tote, in Cambridge, Mass.

City, beach, travel, shopping, these totes are mandatory and most useful basics.


The New Yorker

I love reading the New Yorker. I love that the lay-out and font haven't changed since 1925. I stack unread issues and pack them when I leave on weekends and holidays to savor the time spent with them.

My New Yorker ritual has a precise order: first I skim through the comics and look at every single advertising (they are the best, small captions selling bow ties, exclusive AA and eating disorders retreats, sailing vacations in New England..); Then I start with the Talk of the Town, where anyone can feel like a New Yorker; Then I read the movie reviews which are so predictable because so sarcastic with every single film, everyone is treated as equally worthless, with equal emphasis put on a Raul Ruiz feature showing for three days at the Angelika or The Night at the Museum IV; Then I read the Bruce McCall piece if any and refrain from scanning it to share it with friends because it's so brilliant; Then I read the political which will never be the same after The West Wing (my dad would love to hear this after having sponsored Law School); Then I rush to what is left, which is usually still the best (I love their science and medical articles); And I keep fiction for the end.



Detox juice

Blend 2 green apples+1 lemon+a few parsley stalks, serve fresh, it's delicious!!
(photo Ed Ruscha)

Bean Boots

Leon Leonwood Bean created the Bean Boots in 1912 to satisfy his need for a dry and comfortable pair of outdoor shoes and quickly started selling them to Maine hunters through his newly founded mail-order company. Today the leather and rubber LL Bean Boots are still sewn in Freeport, Maine.
In 1951, Leon Leonwood Bean removed the locks and instaured an open door policy: the flagship store would stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. It has since closed only twice, to honor the death of President Kennedy and then of LL Bean himself in 1967.

Those who are both Wallace Steigner fans and picky freaks might have caught the reference to the Bean Boots worn by Sidney Lang when he arrives at his future wife's house in Vermont midway through Crossing to Safety.


Spring on the Golfe du Morbihan

The poppies were out.
My nephew Côme went fishing.
(photo Patrick Messina)



Bodum makes a beautiful thermos coffee press.


Savon noir

I recently bought a "miracle worker" product from the Mediterranean region called Savon Noir Mou. It claims to wash perfectly your whole house from floors to ceiling, windows included. It can also be used as laundry detergent. It's an organic, ecological replacement for all your disgusting, irritating and artificially smelling detergents. But my favorite part is that the exact same product (as written on the label) is also a veterinarian shampoo used in organic farming to wash the udder of goats and cows before milking!
(photo Larry Towell)


Charvet braided belts

Charvet's braided belts, sold exclusively at the Place Vendôme store in Paris. All the colors are perfect. As worn by Richard Avedon (and my dad), in black.
(photo Richard Avedon)

Acceptable cars (Paris)

Acceptable modes of transportation (Paris):

-Japanese mini-bus (if you have kids)
-Old and rusty Autobianchi A112 (in some random color)
-Old and rusty Austin Mini (even better: Jardinière model)
-Vespa Triporteur


My mom Sidonie is a huge fan of thrift stores and garage sales. She is also very good at driving in back alleys and finding junked furniture she will scrape, paint and pretend it came from her grand parents. She gave me the passion for thrifting in Miami. I love the routine: we walk separately the rows, eagle eyes working, pushing our own cart in the always super icy stores among Haitian mamas yanking their toddlers around, then meet after an hour or so in line to the cash registers for a show and tell moment of editing where half the selection is usually left behind.
We once drove from Palm Beach to Miami, stopping at every single thrift store along these 70 miles.

Espace de l'Art Concret in Mouans Sartoux

This has long been my favorite small museum. The permanent collection contains modern and contemporary art, donated by Gottfried Honegger and Aurelie Nemours. Special exhibitions are always interesting and well displayed considering the proportions of this adorable small castle, the Chateau de Mouans.

The Espace was created with the intention of "educating the eyes" of a large public (including children) to contemporary art. Gilles Clement designed the gardens and landscapes surrounding the Chateau de Mouans.



My grandmother used to shop for a carrot-based super rich tanning cream which smelled and looked exactly like carrot soufflé. She would take me to this very unorthodox laboratory on the rue Marius Aune in Cannes where a very charming old lady would handle spatulas and pour creams and lotions from huge jars. Some felt still warm from preparation. Everything looked like a mad professor’s hideout, and the products were sold in totally ubiquitous packaging, their simplicity making them beautiful. They were displayed in very old wood casings, window-panned. Everything looked dated and fragile; it was so refreshingly old school for Cannes, a city long abandoned to unsightly vulgarity.

My parents went shopping there later, and our home soaps, big green blocks made from pure olive oil, were a household staple for 20 years. All my best friends who slept over remember the distinctive smell of these soaps. My father always had a bottle of their Eau de Cologne, I later used the Lait d’amandes douces, which had the most divine smell.

The place has not changed since 1825. Recently they were forced to "modernize" and went online. They also had to place expiration dates on their products. But they always offered home delivery, now it’s standardized but until a few years ago, I used to simply call them from Paris, give out my name and address, wait for the products to arrive with a little slip of paper with the amount due written out and would send out a check. Nobody does business like that anymore.

I never could figure out if the products were totally organic, simply extracted from the purest ingredients or complete chemistry but I feel true love for this family.


Okura is so far my favorite clothing shop in Tokyo. Although it is located in Daikanyama's shopping district, it is hard to find because it's so discreet. This shop was recommended to me by my friends Tomoko and Masuo.

Okura sells only products dyed in Japanese indigo. Your skin gets blue from rubbing before you've washed the cotton twice, but the MEN's selection is amazing. The nicest and simplest garment: tees, shirts, jackets, scarves, hats...

Filson Luggage

I always thought the Vieux Campeur was a great shop, shopping there was an expedition. First you had to go all the way accross Paris, then figure out which one of their 15 grouped locations sold the specifics you wished to buy. Then North Face re-invented outdoor gear and wear and offered it all online. But THEN a friend told me about Filson, which has the greatest selection of products. And their field bags are just so elegant. Their products make you wish you lived in the Yukon and went fly fishing and just lived outdoors a lot more.
Plus the original Mr Filson was from Nebraska, the state depicted with great love by Jim Harrisson in "Dalva", so it couldn't get any better!


The Original Picky Freak

The original Picky Freak Senior, en famille with two Picky Freaks in becoming, enjoying a pique nique at the Bois de Boulogne. Circa 1983.